Japanese restaurant

Japanese restaurant Apothecary to open on site of former Merchant’s Tavern


Located on Charlotte Road near Old Street Station, Apothecary will echo the energetic and sociable environments of Japan’s famous izakaya bars, offering small Japanese plates alongside music and DJs hosted by Lake Bar and the music brand. live Spiritland.

The space will seat more than 130 place settings and “will reflect a contemporary Tokyo-style tavern through a Shoreditch lens”, combining the site’s exposed masonry with wooden screens to create a dining room “both intimate and connected.” .

“We celebrate the industrial aspect of the building, but it’s a big space, so we have to separate it to create an element of privacy and comfort,” says Lake, who co-founded Merchants Tavern with Patrick Clayton-Malone, Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick in 2013.

“Merchants Tavern has unfortunately closed due to the pandemic, so this is a brand new business with a new lease. I bring all creation together but I’m not the trackmaster, so to speak. ”

Chugh – the restaurateur behind Roti Chai and Chai Ki – leads menu development after spending a lot of time in Japan.

“He went on a culinary odyssey there and totally fell in love with their approach to food, from the smallest snack to high-end dining experiences,” Lake continues. “Rohit is a tasting machine, menu development has been hardcore.”

Served in an open kitchen, the menu will be extensive, including a selection of kebabs from a robata grill, sushi, sashimi and Hirata steamed buns. Prices will vary from £ 3 to £ 15 per plate. Former Villandry chef Jude Sam will run the kitchen.

Former Tortilla CFO James Williams will run the company as Managing Director and the dining room will be overseen by Managing Director Jordan Kirk, well known in the region for having held similar positions at several Shoreditch restaurants. .

The cocktail is created by beverage specialist Hamish Denny, whose CVs include Spiritland and Hawksmoor. Cocktails include Highball Whiskey (Toki whiskey, soda and Genmaicha tea); Sweet Pea (tequila, lemon, sweet peas, soda and wormwood) and Rhubarb Sbagliato (gin, rhubarb, rose, fizz and umami).

Sakes (hot and cold) will also be offered in small sizes to encourage those less familiar with the drink, alongside a range of beers, local and Japanese, and an extensive wine list.

“The fun and the booze are a big part of the story. The lockdown has reinforced some of life’s foundational joys. We won’t take ourselves too seriously,” Lake said.

The apothecary will be open all day, but Lake expects the business to trade more heavily in the evenings. “We don’t expect lunch to be off the charts. We need to recognize where our strengths are and make the most of the night.”

Apothecary is expected to launch towards the end of this month for friends and family, with the soft launch slated for until mid-June.


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